The Kia Optima midsize sedan’s first update since its 2010 debut brings a lightly restyled nose and tail, new seats and more high-tech electronics.
Available in LX, EX, SX and SX-Limited trim levels, the Optima competes with everything from the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry to the Ford Fusion and Volkswagen Passat — to name a few in this expansive class.
The exterior changes are clustered around the front and rear. There are new LED daytime running lights, fog lights and larger LED taillights that present the diffuse, almost neon glow seen in other recent Kia redesigns and new models.
Standard elements include new 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, chrome-accented door handles, dual chrome tailpipes and heated side mirrors with turn signal lights. The EX trim level adds 17-inch wheels. The SX trim steps up to 18-inch polished alloy wheels and unique lower bumpers and side sills. The SX-T adds xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights. The top trim level, Limited, has its own 18-inch chrome wheels, chrome side sills, different LED fog lights and red brake calipers.
Interior upgrades for 2014 include redesigned seats. Cloth upholstery is standard on the LX. The EX gets leather upholstery, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and illuminated cupholders. The Limited adds premium leather and an electronic parking brake in place of the pedal.
Also new are a 4.3-inch display in the instrument panel and an optional 8-inch touch-screen for the navigation system, which also includes UVO eServices, an eight-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic.
The powertrains carry over from 2013 and include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a hybrid system, all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The turbo engine, which Kia offers instead of a V-6, is available only on the Optima SX.
The SX also includes a new Drive Mode Select feature, the various modes of which allow the driver to adjust the accelerator sensitivity, transmission shift points and power-steering assist to suit conditions or personal preference.
Standard safety features include the required antilock brakes, electronic stability system with traction control and six airbags: frontal, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtains along the front and rear seats. Active safety options include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors.